Tony Herlihy is looking forward to contesting the inaugural Waikato Trotting Breeders’ Stakes (2700m) at Cambridge Raceway on Friday.
The South Auckland trainer will line-up quality mares Tickle Me Pink and Kenny’s Dream in the race and he said it was a great initiative established by a number of trotting enthusiasts led by owner-breeder Ken McGrath and his partner Melanie Barker.
“It is certainly a good innovation and it gives the girls a bit of a chance to race each other and not have to go up against the boys,” Herlihy said. “It looks like a nice, strong field.”
Group One winner Tickle Me Pink has been freshened since her last-start fourth-placing in the Gr.3 Cambridge Flying Stakes (1609m) at Cambridge Raceway last month and Herlihy is confident of a better showing on Friday.
“She was nice without being as good as what she can be (in the Flying Stakes),” he said. “She just got left a bit flat-footed when a couple of those topliners sprinted. She has freshened up nicely and looks nice and bright again. She trialled nicely last Saturday.”
Herlihy is just as pleased with eight-win mare Kenny’s Dream in the lead-up to Friday’s contest, particularly after her runner-up performance over 2700m at Alexandra Park last week.
“Kenny’s Dream went really well at Auckland the other night and just got beaten by Robert Dunn’s mare (Pretty Majestic),” he said. “They are both good chances.”
Both mares will start off the back mark of 50m, but Herlihy is confident they will be very competitive on Friday.
“It is never easy off those back marks, but in saying that they have got a bit of class about them so hopefully they can be amongst it.”
Herlihy is also looking forward to lining up last start winner LL Cool J in the Black Dog Furniture Waikato BOP Pacers Cup Final (2700m).
The four-year-old gelding takes a solid form line into the race, having run in the money in all four starts this preparation, however, Herlihy said he is interested to see how the gelding will handle his first start behind the tapes.
“It will be his first standing start, so it will be a little bit of a new thing for him, but he seems well in himself and he has been racing nicely.
“Hopefully he can get away well, get a handy run, and he might have a chance of getting a bit of money.”
Herlihy will have a strong presence at Cambridge on Friday, with six other runners, but highlights debutant Hugo George as one of his better chances in the Comvita Mobile Pace (2200m).
“Hugo George is in the maiden having his first run,” Herlihy said. “He has got a bit of ability and he is a nice enough maiden, so he is a chance of being in the money.
“Later on, Mailman is a promising sort of horse. He is still learning, so it is a bit of experience for him.
“And Natty Pagger has been racing well. He is always a chance of getting some of the money.”
Herlihy has been busy at New Zealand Bloodstock Standardbred’s National Yearling Sale this week, purchasing four yearlings, including a Love You filly out of Bree, a half-sister to four-time Group One winner Stig.
“It was a strong sale, those good colts sold really well,” Herlihy said.
“I would have liked to have bought a couple more down south, but it was very strong. I bid up, but they kept going by and it’s no use buying a horse for the sake of it.
“The fillies I bought were nice fillies and the trotting filly seems a nice type of filly, so hopefully they can help us along the way.” – Cambridge Raceway